It’s summertime and all around my ethnically-diverse state, signs in front of churches beckon, offering Summertime Bible School. They appear to multiply in a manner similar to the Loaves and Fishes.
Now, probably most parents who aren’t religiously-oriented (of any sect), dismiss them as ‘unnecessary’ in our current, secular world.
They haven’t the time or inclination to enroll their kids in such. Oh, they’ll sign the little ones up quickly enough for swimming, art, or horseback lessons, but the truth of the matter is: They just can’t conceive of enrolling them in Bible “camp.’
And because those parents work almost-Dickension schedules (allowing them little parenting opportunities,) moral teachings sometimes become will-o’-the-wisp, occasional happenstances.
As a once-practicing Catholic (I’d never be on a short list of contenders for Catholic Woman of the Year,) I do understand their protests: “I’m not having my child in an organization that preys on its youth” has become their collective war-cry. They’ve thrown the baby (not the one in the bullrushes) out with the bathwater.
The failings of some allegedly-religious types invite others to paint all with a bad brush. It’s our human condition.
But I say this: Some of my most wonderful memories of church and my religion are keyed into the things I recall as a child, and one of my most prescient memories I have is when I went to Summer Bible School.
Nuns took over this special session held in the building that was our elementary school the rest of the year.
Each day those nuns gave out coloring books, and we children proceeded to color in pious reproductions of Biblical scenes: Joseph and His Many-Colored Coat, Moses and the Bulrushes, Noah’s Arc.
If f I close my eyes, today, and will myself back in time, it’s the smell of the crayons that prompts the memory.
That underscores actress and author, Mary Lou Henna’s, assertion that “One never forgets anything.” “We just think we do,” and “scents trigger those memories.”
As we progress on our life journey, there’s just so much layering of experiences that we lose sight (and smells) of those things that came earlier. They become buried in later ones. But we never truly forget.
In almost-Pavlovian manner, I get the association, too, whenever I see Summer Bible School signs, for it’s then, I remember, and then I “go there,” remembering the coloring activity and our discussion that followed.
I learned many moral lessons in that time and coupled with parental teachings, they had a mighty impact.
As a child, I loved it all.
So, there you have it…signs of Summertime Bible School dotting the landscape prompt me to recall a time waaaayyy back in my youth when I occupied a little wooden desk in an older schoolroom, supervised by nuns (and I never attended parochial school the rest of the year.)
I’d cradle my crayons and try mightily to stay between the lines, because after all, “I was doing God’s work.”
Now, what scents trigger your memories? Do other things do it, too, like my Summer Bible School signs? Do share….